Step #5: Learn About Your Investment Options
Now that you have a plan for short-term savings, you’re ready to partner with a financial advisor who can help you make the most of your long-term investment options. The good news is the sooner you start investing, the more time your money has to grow. That’s the power of compound interest at work. Here’s how to get started:
Start by working with your financial advisor to take advantage of the tax-favored retirement accounts that are available to you at work, like your 401(k) or 403(b). How much should you invest toward retirement? Shoot for 15% of your income. And if your employer offers a match on contributions to your 401(k), take it! Don’t say no to free money.
If you have access to a Roth 401(k) at work with good mutual fund options, great! You can invest your full 15% there. But if you have a traditional 401(k), invest up to the match then invest what’s left of your 15% in a Roth IRA. If you still have part of your 15% left after maxing out a Roth IRA, go back to your 401(k).
Why is a Roth a good idea? When you invest in a Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA, the money you invest grows tax-free. That means you don’t have to pay taxes on it when you withdraw money in retirement. That’s a big benefit you don’t want to miss out on.